Gaming Stories:- With the year almost over, it’s difficult not to have mixed feelings about 2023. It was a fantastic year for home gamers, with fantastic tentpole releases from PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo, as well as some excellent indies. We will all likely argue for years to come that 2023 was one of the best if not the best, year for games. But it was also a bad year for game developers, with over 10,000 laid off, studios closing, and other setbacks.
Between major video game releases, heartbreaking layoffs, record-breaking acquisitions and box office reports, and more, 2023 had plenty of news stories that kept us talking for weeks, speculating on the industry’s future, and reshaping how we view game development. Here are the top ten gaming news stories for 2023.
Naughty Dog’s Last of Us Multiplayer Project Is Cancelled By PlayStation, Making It A First-Party Rarity
Naughty Dog revealed in June 2022 that its new Last of Us multiplayer project would be a standalone title. In May of this year, the studio announced that it needed more time to complete the game while also hinting at the development of a new single-player experience. However, Naughty Dog laid off at least 25 developers a few months later, with reports claiming that the Last of Us multiplayer project was “on ice.” Between the layoffs and news about the game’s progress, players realized the game might be further away than they thought.
Naughty Dog, on the other hand, surprised many when it announced earlier this month that it was discontinuing development on its online multiplayer Last of Us game. In retrospect, this isn’t the most surprising development, but seeing an announced PlayStation first-party game go through a public cancellation like this is extremely rare – first-party games are canceled all the time, but usually, before the game reaches the point of being publicly announced the project – and that’s why it was one of the year’s biggest stories.
PlayStation’s CEO steps down, while Xbox’s CEO rises.
Both the PlayStation and Xbox had fantastic years. The former released PSVR2, the PlayStation 5 Slim, and the PlayStation Portal remote handheld device, as well as great releases such as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and God of War Ragnarök’s Valhalla DLC. Xbox, through Microsoft, acquired Activision Blizzard, released Starfield, Forza Motorsport, and Hi-Fi Rush, among other things.
Both of these companies experienced significant executive turnover. After more than 30 years at Sony, PlayStation president Jim Ryan announced his departure in September. He was named president and CFO of Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2018 and will leave the company and position in the spring.
A month later, Microsoft reorganized as well, with Microsoft corporate vice president Sarah Bond promoted to Xbox president and Microsoft head of studios, and Microsoft corporate vice president Matt Booty promoted to president of game content and studios. Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer for the past 32 years, announced his retirement, with Microsoft executive vice president and commercial chief marketing officer Takeshi Numoto taking his place. Yusuf Mehdi was promoted to Microsoft executive vice president and consumer chief marketing officer as part of the reorganization. Microsoft’s consumer sales team has been relocated to the Microsoft Gaming CEO’s team, which is led by Ami Silverman.
Such massive executive shake-ups within PlayStation and Xbox are unusual. However, both companies experienced significant changes in 2023, which were difficult to ignore and speculate on how these might affect the future.
Adaptations of video games enter the mainstream
There have been a lot of great video game adaptations over the years – Game Infomer’s very own Blake Hester claims there are five good Resident Evil movies – but it’s difficult not to look at 2023 and say it’s the best year for video game adaptations.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which we enjoyed the year’s heavy hitter in the movie department. After having the best opening for an animated film, it didn’t take long for that April premiere to become a record-breaking box office success. It also became the most successful opening film of 2023 and Illumination’s most successful opening ever.
Furthermore, it had the best opening for any video game film adaptation ever, as well as the biggest five-day premiere ever, breaking the record previously held by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. If that isn’t enough, The Super Mario Bros. Movie had the largest IMAX opening weekend ever, grossing $21.6 million worldwide. It ended its box office reign with a massive $1.36 billion, and while a sequel has not been confirmed, Nintendo is using its success to create a live-action Legend of Zelda film.
However, the year of great adaptations began in January with HBO’s The Last of Us. The first season focused on the events of the first game (and its Left Behind DLC), and HBO has already confirmed that a second season will air in 2025. We enjoyed the first season and are looking forward to seeing how it adapts The Last of Us Part II (which will be remastered next month). We aren’t alone, as the premiere of The Last of Us was HBO’s second-largest debut since 2010, and viewers stuck around for the entire season.
Sony debuted Gran Turismo: Based On A True Story in August, and audiences seemed to enjoy it, with the film receiving a 98% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Other notable adaptations this year include Peacock’s surprisingly good Twisted Metal TV series and Netflix’s Castlevania: Nocturne, a fantastic follow-up to the streaming service’s original Castlevania animated series. Let us hope that 2024 follows suit.
Grand Theft Auto VI is finally revealed by Rockstar Games.
The Grand Theft Auto series from Rockstar Games has sold over 370 million units. Over half of those sales are attributed to Grand Theft Auto V, which was released in 2013. Grand Theft Auto V reached $1 billion in retail sales faster than any other entertainment release in history, thanks to its launch on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, a port to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2014 (along with a PC debut that year), and last year’s new-gen update for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Furthermore, Grand Theft Auto V is the best-selling game in the United States between 2010 and 20. To summarize, Grand Theft Auto is a video game powerhouse.
Millions of players have been waiting for a sequel for this and other reasons. Rockstar announced in early December that the first trailer for its next Grand Theft Auto game would be released the following week, and it didn’t take long for that to become the most-liked gaming tweet of all time. The trailer was supposed to be released on December 5 at 9 a.m. ET, but it was leaked the night before. Rockstar acted quickly, removing the leaked trailer and releasing the official trailer online on December 4.
Today, the Grand Theft Auto VI reveal trailer has over 150 million views, breaking the record for the most views in 24 hours (it also surpassed 100 million views in less than a day).
Grand Theft Auto VI, like its predecessor, is expected to dominate the gaming world when it debuts in 2025 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, and we can’t wait.
Also Read:- Could the GTA 5 source code have been leaked?
It’s Baldur’s Gate 3’s World – We’re Just Living In It
We have been following Baldur’s Gate 3 since its Early Access release in 2020. Its character creator, as well as its large party of companions, impressed us in Early Access. When Baldur’s Gate 3 was finally released on PC in August, it received one of our highest scores of the year. And became the top of our list of the top ten games of 2023.
If you were online at all in August of this year, you almost certainly saw some kind of praise for Baldur’s Gate 3 – people, both RPG fans and newcomers alike, fell in love with developer Larian Studios’ latest. It dominated the month of August. The game’s PlayStation 5 launch on September 6, which made it a PlayStation 5 console-exclusive for a few months, only added to the game’s popularity as more players entered the Forgotten Realms.
Then, for The Game Awards 2023, Baldur’s Gate 3 received over a dozen nominations, eventually winning six, including Game of the Year. The same night it received the prestigious award, Larian Studios unexpectedly released Baldur’s Gate 3 on Xbox Series X/S, capping off a massive year.
Charles Martinet Says Goodbye to Mario Voicing
You may have noticed that Mario and Luigi sound different if you played Super Mario Bros. Wonder this is this year’s top ten games of 2023. This is due to the fact that longtime actor Charles Martinet, who has voiced Mario for over 25 years, is no longer performing the Mario brothers. Starting with Super Mario 64 in 1996, he became the voice of Mario (and various other characters in the Mushroom Kingdom), but he said goodbye this year to take on a new role at Nintendo: Mario Ambassador. We later learned that Mario’s new voice actor is Kevin Afghani, a Genshin Impact actor who did an excellent job filling Martinet’s shoes in Super Mario Bros. Wonder.
E3 Is Officially Dead
The most recent in-person E3 took place in 2019. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced E3 to cancel its 2020 plans and return in 2021 with a digital-only event. The 2022 E3 was later canceled, as was this year’s attempt with PAX organizer ReedPop. E3 organizer Entertainment Software Association announced earlier this month that E3 is officially dead, something that had been predicted for years.
Unity Ruins Game Developers’ Trust
On September 12, Unity, the popular video game development engine, announced that it was updating its pricing and packaging plans. These modifications included a fee that activates and charges developers of high-performing games each time a user or player installs the title, and it didn’t take long for developers to point out various issues with this policy, all of which felt like punishment for those who make games.
With these changes, Unity sparked outrage on social media and blogs from developers all over the world, with many declaring that they would abandon Unity in favor of other development platforms. On September 14, Unity closed two of its offices for a day due to death threats. Fortunately, Unity eventually reversed some of these changes, but the damage had been done, and many developers were left wondering how they could ever trust Unity again. Unity CEO John Riccitiello resigned a few weeks later.
Activision Blizzard Acquisition Sets a New Record for Microsoft
In 2017, Xbox had five first-party studios and a publishing arm: Rare, Turn 10, 343 Industries, The Coalition, Mojang Studios, and Xbox Game Studios Publishing. Microsoft now owns more than 50 studios six years later, thanks to various acquisitions over the years. That figure was significantly increased in October when Microsoft officially acquired Activision Blizzard for a whopping $68.7 billion – Xbox now houses all 19 of Activision Blizzard’s studios as well as King’s 11 mobile game studios.
This was the largest video game acquisition in history, so it’s no surprise that it became one of the year’s most talked-about stories.
This acquisition is also the reason for the massive Xbox leaks in September when Microsoft inadvertently provided federal courts with confidential (and unredacted) documents that the public could view. In those documents, we learned that Xbox head Phil Spencer considered acquiring Nintendo and Warner Bros. Games at one point, that Xbox is planning an Xbox Series X/S refresher for next year, that it may be working on remasters of Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and that Microsoft has plans for a next-gen hybrid console in 2028.
The Best Year For Games, And The Worst For Those Who Create Them
This year was arguably the best of all time for video games; it was unquestionably one of the worst for those who create them. Throughout the year, studios were closed, thousands of people were laid off, and developers were given only 30 seconds to shine on The Game Awards 2023 stage after winning awards. More than 10,000 developers were laid off in 2023.
Microsoft laid off 10,000 employees in January as part of its ongoing $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which it completed in October.
Striking Distance Studios, the team behind The Callisto Protocol from last year, laid off more than 30 employees in August. BioWare, the developer of Mass Effect and Dragon Age, laid off 50 employees in the same month, including long-time studio veterans. The following month, in September, Ascendant Studios, the developer of Immortals of Aveum, laid off roughly 45% of its workforce, and Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, laid off 830 employees.
Naughty Dog, the developer of The Last of Us, laid off at least 25 employees in October, and Telltale Games also laid off employees, though the exact number of affected employees has not yet been revealed. In late October, Dreams developer Media Molecule laid off 20 employees. Embracer Group closed its reformed TimeSplitters studio, Free Radical Design, earlier this month, and earlier this year, Embracer Group closed Saints Row developer Volition Games, a studio with more than 30 years of development history. Hasbro, the parent company of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, laid off 1,100 employees just before the holidays. The games industry will undoubtedly feel the effects of such a calamitous year for many years to come.
Why was 2017 a good year for gaming?
Numerous video games were released in 2017, as well as other developments in the video game industry. The Nintendo Switch console was released in 2017, and by the end of the year, it had sold more than 14 million units, surpassing the underperforming Wii U lifetime sales.
What happened in 2002 in gaming?
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for the PlayStation 2 was the year’s best-selling video game, while Metroid Prime and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the GameCube were the year’s most critically acclaimed titles.
What was the best gaming year?
Depending on who you ask. Gamers and critics love to debate the best year in gaming history, but 2023 is the first serious contender since 2017 when The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Destiny 2, Super Mario Odyssey, Horizon Zero Dawn, Cuphead, and Resident Evil 7 were released.
What is the best age to play games?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 60 minutes on school days and 2 hours on non-school days for children over the age of six. Children under the age of six should spend closer to 30 minutes. It is also appropriate for parents to be aware of and approve of the games their children are playing. Avoid any games that contain graphic violence or sex.